Rock Band, the Game

Obviously, lots of people like it, young and old.  It’s karaoke for the air guitarist, really.

I got to play a few songs on it once, and thoroughly enjoyed the crap out of it.

And yet, I’ve seen a few guitar players say variations of, “the only people who seem to like it are non-musicians.”

Well, I’ve been a musician since I taught myself to play “On Top of Old Smokey” on our little electric organ when I was 5.  I was a local phenom on the trumpet at age 10.  I was known across the state for my singing and trumpet-playing ability; my junior year, I had people deliberately coming to my State Music Festival performances just to see/hear me.  I even had groupies…but I digress.

I started a rock band with me playing drums.  I taught myself to play guitar chords.

I majored in music in college, trumpet and voice.  I bought a bass, and within 2 years was playing in the college’s #2 jazz band.  I switched over to guitar full time, and have been playing for 18 years now.

I think it is safe to say I’m a musician.

And I thought Rock Band was a blast.

Now…one of the songs was on bass, and it was pretty boring…but then, playing bass can be pretty boring, too.  I’ve been asked if I thought Rock Band was a good starting point for learning guitar, and I really don’t think so.  The required hand/finger motions are just too different.

But the drumset is a different story.

Put it on “Hard”, and it is about as close to playing drums with your favorite band/songs as you can get.  Keeping in perfect time is the hardest part of playing live drums; the game keeps you there by the visual timing cues, and you can really let yourself rock out.  Like I said, I enjoyed the crap out of it.  I nearly bought a set on the idea that where else am I going to get a drum set and some full ( – drum) backing tracks for less than $200?  Nowhere, of course.

But I finally decided to pass because as much fun as it is to rock out with the drumset, you are penalized if you do anything other than what is on the original CD.  There are opportunities for improvisation, but not many, and not where you might want them.  And there is no hi-hat pedal, either, which severely degrades the realism.

But, I don’t hate it, and I don’t think musicians or even instrumentalists should automatically dislike the game.




Filed under Badly-Thought Out Rants, guitar, Me

4 responses to “Rock Band, the Game

  1. Nothing more fun than watching a roomful of 11-14 year olds (church youth at a swim party) rocking out to music that was popular back when you were in seventh grade. I even had to step in and show them how an old fart like me does it. And no, I’m not a musician. But I did fairly well on Rock Band’s bass guitar. Okay, I had to start easy.

    • chiefmuser

      Nothing more fun than watching a roomful of 11-14 year olds…

      If I’m not mistaken, that’s how Mark Chmura, Woody Allen, and Jerry Lee Lewis all ended up in trouble…

  2. Uhhh… re your last post – what are you trying to say? I’m not sure how much I like being compared to those creeps.

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